Police raise criminal charges against radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib and followers

The police has raised criminal charges against the radical Islamic leader Jafar Umar Thalib (JUT) and six of his followers. The seven men allegedly damaged the loudspeakers in front of a private house in the Muara Tami District of Jayapura Regency and physically ill-treated a minor on the 27 February 2019. JUT and his followers allegedly felt disturbed because the owner of the house often played loud Christian worship songs. The police charged the suspects with article 170, paragraph (2),1 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) about the use of physical violence against objects or people and emergency law 12/1951 on carrying, mastering and possessing sharp weapons without permission.

Religious leaders of multiple religions leaders expressed concerns that JUT and his radical views pose a threat to the inter religious tolerance in West Papua. JUT was actively involved in the outbreak of religious violence between Christians and Muslims in Ambon, in the province of Maluku and later founded the militant Islamic organisation Laskar Jihad. The head of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, KH Saiful Islam Al-Payage, stated during a demonstration that he rejected the presence of JUT in West Papua.